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Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(1):185-95.

Antiviral and anti-proliferative glycoproteins from the rhizome of Smilax glabra Roxb (Liliaceae).

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  • 1Department of Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong, China.


The glycoproteins possessing antiviral and anti-proliferative activities were isolated from the Chinese medicinal herb Smilax glabra (known as tufuling), by extraction with 0.2 M NaCl, ammonium sulfate precipitation, fetuin-agarose affinity chromatography and gel filtration. The molecular mass of the fetuin-binding glycoprotein (designated SGPF2) was estimated to be about 58 kDa, with a major protein subunit of 26 kDa. The non-fetuin binding glycoproteins (in the unadsorbed fraction) were further separated into 5 different subfractions (SGPF1a-SGPF1e) with anion-exchange chromatography, all of which also contained the major band at 26 kDa. All the isolated proteins of 26 kDa had similar N-terminal amino acid sequences, implying that they were probably the isoforms originated putatively from a multigene family with different binding affinity and ionic strength. The glycoprotein SGPF2 exhibited antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) with a median inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of 62.5 microg/ml and Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) had an IC(50) of 31.3 microg/ml. The glycoprotein potencies for antiviral activity appeared to depend on the molecules' binding affinity for fetuin, that is, the fetuin-binding protein was more potent than the non-fetuin binding proteins. Further examination revealed that these glycoproteins also had the ability to suppress the proliferation of MCF-7 cells. The possible mechanism of anti-proliferative action as analyzed by DNA flow cytometry indicated that they could induce apoptosis mediated via sub-G(1) phase of the MCF-7 cell cycle. For example, there was an increase by 75.8% of the control level of apoptosis after incubation with SGPF1a.

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